Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Race to Albany

It looks as though the ACLU may have to get in line in its appeal. In New York, the civil-liberties group had asked the highest state court, the Court of Appeals in Albany, to reverse its loss in a suit to allow same-sex marriage. Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to appeal the opposite -- a court mandate that his city license same-sex weddings.

There's a good chance with this extra muscle, the NY high court will hear the matter pretty quickly. Without stating a personal position, Bloomberg is quoted by the AP as saying, "I'm glad the judge ruled this way because it gets us the ability to get this to the appellate court." In his comments he would only go so far as to say he was trying to avoid the San Francisco-style confusion when couples wed only to have their marriages invalidated by the courts.

I predict a snowstorm of amicus briefs on both side. The reactionary, Florida-based Liberty Counsel supported the earlier suit in which the anti-same-sex marriage folk won last December. That group would certainly not be pleased for a second state to follow Massachusetts in legalizing such unions.

Albany, the state capital, is not Manhattan. It's hard to tell how this one will conclude. The state Supreme Court judge who ordered same-sex marriage licenses for the City clearly delineated her constitutional arguments in her 62-page decision. This looks like a fun fight.

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